Heart of the Hunter(7)

By: Chance Carter

I lit another cigarette and made my way back to the diner.

If you get back there and everything is fine, you’re putting this cigarette out in your own fucking eye. Got it?

I rounded the corner feeling like an idiot and glanced in the window of the diner. I put my cigarette out, but not in my eye. Everything was not fine. Kelly was not fine. And I was going to make fucking murder. To hell with the consequences.

Chapter 4


As soon as Hunter left the diner, I felt a strange sense of both relief and regret. The scent of him was still hanging in the air, swallowing me and making my mind blurry to what and who had just walked in and out of my life. I felt like I was in a dream and hadn’t gotten up to start my day yet. He was just like every other work-a-day guy I’d ever met, with all his cheap small talk and bravado. Except for one thing. The bravado and arrogance in his voice seemed forced. Like he was pretending to be something he was not. The man whose eyes I looked into knew who he was and what he could do to me. Or to anyone else. He wouldn’t talk about it, he would just do it. He didn’t need to talk shit. He didn’t need to talk at all, and he knew it.

I wanted him. Or did I? It was more complicated than simply lusting for him. It wasn’t a want I felt inside me, it was a need. I needed to know who he was and what he was capable of. Why was I so drawn to him? Why couldn’t I shake the image of him holding me in his strong, muscular arms? He could be any old wrench monkey with a hard body and harder head, but I knew he wasn’t. He couldn’t be. Not the way he made my head spin. I hated myself for giving him so much thought and luckily Grace snapped me back to reality.

“Kelly, guests,” she whispered forcefully motioning to the two men who had just sat down at a table by the door.

I always loved when she called customers guests. It was just one of the ways her kind heart shined through. I pulled two menus out of the basket and made my way over to the table, happy to have something to do.

As I walked toward the table, I could already smell the stench of whatever cheap liquor they had been into the night before. One was chatting loudly into his cell phone about some girl from somewhere and all the horribly raunchy acts he had committed with her the night before while the other just sat there howling in approval. I immediately wished I was some place else doing anything different.

“Good morning, gents. Here’s some coffee to get you started. What can I get you to eat today?”

“Holy fuck, will you look at this,” one of them slurred, barely pulling his phone away from his ear. “Sorry, dude. I’ll have to call you back. Got something here.”

Something. I suppose I had been called worse, but right now it didn’t feel like it. Especially coming from the sorry excuse for a man in front of me. I could see a beer belly sticking out underneath the V-neck shirt that was too tight for his body and despite the backwards cap he wore, he was too old to use the word dude, no matter how much he wished he wasn’t. He looked me up and down aggressively with his bloodshot eyes and slapped the table in front of his friend sitting across from him.

“I told you, dude. I told you it was a good idea to stop here, man. Look at this little piece we got taking care of us this morning. You’re going to take care of us, aren’t you, baby? We had a long night, but we saved a little for you. Don’t you worry.”

It was apparently going to be one of those days. I was less a waitress and more a piece of meat. Hunter had said as much when he came in. Except these two didn’t make me feel the way Hunter had. They had none of the power he carried, and there certainly was nothing passing between us. They didn’t make me feel anything but uncomfortable and I found myself wishing he hadn’t gone.

“So, I’ll give you a couple minutes with the menu then?”

I needed to separate myself from them until I knew how I was going to get them to leave. If I could get them to leave. We weren’t exactly in a position to be turning down customers, even the ones that made my skin crawl. I started to turn and walk away when, to his friend’s delight and my surprise, the talker grabbed me by the apron, pulling me back toward him, and wrapping his arm around my waist.

“No, no, no, baby! I see everything I want right here. You going to give us a spin and show off that fine ass?”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and was genuinely afraid. Grace had slipped into the storeroom to grab stock and Dennis was nowhere in sight. It was just me and these pigs and I didn’t know how to make it stop. He slid his hand down my waist, over my backside, and to my thigh. This couldn’t be happening. I felt him start to move his hand up my leg and under my skirt.